Sunday, 22 November 2015

Bran Fruit Loaf - A Fun Way to Eat Bran and it's also Egg Free.

Bran Fruit Loaf. Delicious with Butter.
If you feel you are missing fibre in your diet, bran is probably the answer, but if like me, you don't like cereal in the morning, or you find bran too tasteless on its own, you might want to try this.  It's a recipe I got an All-Bran packet in the 80s and I hadn't made it for years, but I remembered that it is quite tasty. It's also eggless.

Bran Fruit Loaf is very simple to do and does not require much equipment. Just as well as I can't lift my mixer at the moment.
I altered the original recipe to make it more interesting and I will show both versions below.

4 oz (100 g) Bran
5 oz sugar (125g)
10 oz (275 g)mixed dried fruit
1/4 pt milk (1/2 cup)
4 oz Self Raising flout (100 g)

Put the bran, sugar, dried fruit into a basin and mix them well together.
Stir in milk and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
Stir in the flour and pour the mixture into a greased 2 lb loaf tin.
Bake at 350 F or 180 C for about one hour.
Turn out onto a rack and allow to cool.
Cut into slices and serve with butter.

My versions:
I used 3 oz sultanas, 3 oz glace cherries, one Tablespoon mixed peel and some chopped walnuts.
I baked it for about 45 minutes, but it could have baked a little longer.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

How to Un-shrink a Sweater

Cardigan back to normal size.
At the weekend I did a terrible thing.  I inadvertently put my favourite cardigan in the washer and dryer.  I normally put it in a wool wash and air dry it. Although it is viscose and elastane, it came out two sizes smaller. It was destined for the charity shop but a friend suggested I look online to see if it could be fixed.  I found the solution on this site:
It worked! I plan to try it with something else now.

Here's what to do.
Put a small amount of fabric conditioner in a plastic bowl and fill it with cool water.
Immerse the cardigan and leave it in this solution for 30 minutes.  This allows the fibres to relax.
Do not rinse.
Roll it in a towel to take away excess moisture.
Spread it out and gently stretch it back to its original shape, if necessary. (I drew around another 
similar cardigan and used the template to check but mine had reverted to its original shape.)
Spread it out  on a clean, dry towel and allow to dry. This will take a day or so, but it's worth it.
Gently press it if necessary.
( If you are dealing with a wool sweater, you may have to stretch and pin it when it is still wet and
then press it with a damp cloth when it is dry.)

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A Quick Mid-Week Meal

Pasta with bacon, mushrooms and creme fraiche
This dish is one of my favourite quick meals.  It is tasty and filling and there is a vegetarian option.
Hubby had to help me with lifting and draining the pasta pan, but otherwise I was able to do it myself.  I am at the beginning of my third week of convalescence and still not allowed to lift anything heavier than one litre, so I have to rely on others to do it for me. I am now feeling well enough to be a little bit bored, so this was a bit of light relief.  Not only that, but I managed a short walk to the local shops to get mushrooms!
Here's the recipe followed by alterations for other versions.

I used to make this by the bucket full, but now I am usually cooking for just the two of us.
If you are cooking for four, just double the amounts.

Ingredients for two people:
A handful of pasta for each person to be fed. I use bows.
1 Tablespoon olive oil.
Bacon lardons or chopped bacon (about 4 strips)
2 handfuls of closed cap mushrooms wiped and sliced.
2 spring onions, chopped.
About 6 oz of creme fraiche. Use your judgement. You need enough to coat the pasta.
Some chopped parsley to garnish.

Cook the pasta according to the direction on the package.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a frying pan.
Add bacon/lardons and fry until brown.
Put in mushrooms and cook until they begin to colour.
Add the spring greens and let then cook for one minute.
Add creme fraiche and stir in well.
Remove from heat.

Drain the pasta leaving a little water in the pan.
Add pasta and water (about 1/2 cup) to the sauce and stir in.
Put in bowls and garnish with parsley.
Grate a little parmesan over the top.

Serve with a salad if you require something green. ( I always need salad.)

Other versions:
For a delicious vegetarian version, cook the mushrooms and spring onion as above.  Add the creme fraiche  and put in the pasta.  Stir in bite size pieces of brie.  They will melt slightly from the heat.

If you don't like mushrooms, substitute with broccoli (Do not overcook) or frozen peas.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

A Little Bit of Crochet

The beginning of a scarf in Larksfoot pattern.
I have not done any sewing for months and now that I am convalescing from an operation, I can't.  I am not allowed to do any housework (yay), cooking, etc nor can I lift anything heavier than one litre. This puts severe constraints on my activities as you can imagine. It is particularly frustrating when Hubby (who has been an Angel) is away at work and not here to help me.  Fortunately, I was warned.  I did everything I could pre-op and planned a few light activities to amuse myself while convalescing.
This embryo scarf is one of them.
I have forgotten how to crochet and I am very slow, but it is coming back and it is wonderful to be able to create something, no matter how small or how slow.
I can do this from a reclining position so there is no guilt about 'over doing it'. I chose the colours starting with the sale bin at Elys Department Store in Wimbledon, then moved on to find others to coordinate with them. A trip to Liberty with my daughter (also pre-op) gave me the opportunity to buy enough wool for a second scarf. If all goes well, they will make good Christmas or birthday presents for friends. If I don't feel they are up to scratch, I will wear them myself.  I'm not proud.
My inspiration for this scarf was this from the blog 'Little Treasures' which you can find at:

I am following the tutorial at this site:
Try as I might, I can't form a link here, but if you go to the site above, there is a link to the tutorial.  I think the stitch is so pretty and it is not difficult to do once you get past the first row, which is always a difficulty for me.

From The Little Treasures Tutorial.